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Manipulation, detection and analysis of biological cells and organelles

A picture of a laboratory rat

Laboratory animals and human cell lines have typically been used in drug development, functional genomics, toxicology etc. There are however some problems with such tests:

  • since different species are not alike, tests on laboratory animals do not provide enough information for full understanding of the functions of human cells and tissues
  • ethical problems
  • the EU is going to prohibit the use of laboratory animals in the cosmetic industry
  • human cell lines are typically homogenous cultures of cancer origin and do not mimic the function of normal tissues and organs

In order to dispense with these tests, new types of cell cultures are needed that consist of

  • different types of cells
  • highly specialized cells and cells that have limited capability to divide (e.g. neurons)

New methods for handling cells one by one are essential, when this kind of cell cultures will be in use. The Solomanda project aims to develop a '''system for automatic manipulation, detection and analysis of individual cells'''. The system consists of

  • a high throughput micromanipulator for injection and aspiration
  • a machine vision system for the detection and analysis

The objectives of TKK and TUT in the project are

  1. to develop manipulation methods of individual biological cells
  2. to develop a micromanipulation system that facilitates high throughput manipulation of individual biological cells

The micromanipulation system consists of a new type of micromanipulator

integrated with a pressure microinjector, a control system and a vision system. The vision system and advanced control algorithms will allow high-precision three dimensional positioning of the manipulator. This way cell injections can be automated and the survival rate of injected cells raised from the present values.

In cooperation with

Research area: Micro- and Nanorobotics